We live in a society that greatly values success and productivity. Even though this lifestyle is almost impossible to avoid, we can counteract its adverse effects on our physical and psychological health. We can do so by taking a moment to pause, refocus and pay attention to our breathing.
We often take this vital function of our body for granted, but many of us would benefit from meditation and the art of conscious breathing. In order to convince you, we will touch upon some of the numerous benefits of this ancient practice.
Did you know that stress produces a hormone called cortisol? A regular practice of meditation will help reduce the production of cortisol and regulate the effects of stress. We are not being cliché when we say that you will actually feel more zen!
Improve mood and concentration
Do you sometimes notice that you clench your jaw in front of the computer? Or that your posture makes you feel tense and achy? Or that you inhale fast and forget to exhale? These are all symptoms of an elevated level of anxiety. By learning to slow down and practice mindfulness, you will slowly see these effects fade away on their own. A relaxed mind means a higher level of concentration!
Learn to be more compassionate
When you take a moment to incorporate self-care each day, you are really practicing self-compassion. It is important to listen to your body, your head and your heart. It is true that when you show kindness to yourself, it is easy to be kind to others as well.
Meditation for All
Many stereotypes still exist regarding mediation. There is a preconceived notion that in order to meditate one must sit cross-legged on the floor, and in a completely silent environment. That is false! You can meditate while walking, while commuting on public transportation, in the cafeteria, etc. In other words, anywhere. All you have to do is empty your mind and focus on your breathing. Of course, it is not always easy because we have a tendency to let our thoughts run away from us. We must learn to let them drift in and out, like clouds, and just let go.
If you are a beginner, you can explore several helpful applications, such as Headspace or Petit BamBou, to help you get started. Start slowly with small exercises that last a few minutes, and then gradually increase them to longer sessions. You can also join meditation classes at a local yoga studio.
Are you ready to incorporate meditation into your daily routine? The benefits are endless, so start enjoying them now!
Adapted from French by Amina Reaz